By Anita Ginsburg
When it comes time to retire, one of the first things people think about is housing. Some people have saved over the years and eventually go on to buy a place in the location of their dreams. For others, they prefer to stay where they are, however, now want to live in a place where they can kick back and relax.
If you fall in to the latter category, it’s important to know that all retirement communities are not the same. So, before you start packing, here’s what you need to be looking for in a retirement community.
Even if you’re in perfect health, the place you ultimately choose should be equipped with appropriate medical care. If you plan on making this your permanent home, look for retirement communities that offer both emergency and routine care. If you suffer from chronic medical conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, it’s even more important to ensure you have access to medical care.
In addition to quality medical services, recreational activities are another important part of choosing your new place. Socialization is important at any age, so look for communities that promote social interaction. Even if you’re more of an introvert, you still need to have access to activities you enjoy doing and be able to mix and mingle at will.
When touring different prospects, take the time to speak to current residents. Ask about the different recreational options there are, whether they enjoy them and if there are any areas that need improvement.
Think about the environment you want to retire in. If you’re somewhere that’s known for brutal winters, you might have set your sights on somewhere warmer. Regardless of location, unless it’s close to home, you should plan on visiting the area prior to making a final decision. Above all else, you need to ensure that you’re happy with the location, either on a part-time basis or all year round.
Consider Your Budget
Affordability is by far the most important factor you need to consider. Just like buying a home, your budget determines whether you can live comfortably. If you’re not financially savvy, enlist the help of a trusted family member or friend who can crunch the numbers.
Determine how much money you’ll need each month to live comfortably. If where you choose mandates additional monthly fees or has a mandatory entrance fee, you need to consider this as well.
Finally, make sure where you choose to live matches your lifestyle. For instance, if you have pets, inquire if the community is pet friendly prior to visiting the property. There’s no point in touring if the community does match your lifestyle.
Choosing a retirement community that suits both your wants and needs takes time. Make a list of everything you must have and also things you’re flexible with. Doing so will save you time, money and help narrow down your search.
Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.